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Hamilton has 8th most expensive child care rates in Canada: study

Hamilton has the 8th most expensive child care rates in Canada according to a new study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Brampton, Ont. has the most expensive child care monthly cost in Canada

Brampton, Ont. has been named the least affordable place in Canada for regulated daycare. The study, titled The Parent Trap, says childcare rates in Brampton are the most disproportionate in the country. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Hamilton has the 8th most expensive child care rates in Canada according to a new study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

The study ranks cities based on the percentage of a woman's income that child care costs would use. In Hamilton, 31 per cent of a woman's income, on average, goes to child care. Researchers calculated that for pre-school aged children Hamilton parents are spending anywhere from a low of $700 per month to a high of $910 per month. The median cost for toddlers is $955. The median cost for infants is $1194.

Brampton, Ont. has been named the least affordable place in Canada for regulated daycare. The study, titled The Parent Trap, says childcare rates in Brampton are the most disproportionate in the country.

Although other Canadian cities may have higher overall childcare costs, the study found that those who live in Brampton had the highest daycare costs when compared with wages.

The study found that median yearly daycare fees in Brampton were equivalent to 36 per cent of a woman's income, or some four months worth of work.

Only Brampton, Surrey, B.C., Windsor, Ont., London, Ont., Toronto, Mississauga and St. Johns, NL had higher day care rates than Hamilton.

The most affordable city for childcare was Gatineau, Que., near Ottawa, with fees amounting to only four per cent of a women's income, or the equivalent of two weeks worth of salary to pay off a year's worth of daycare.

Overall, the study looked at median childcare fees in 22 of Canada's largest cities for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. In all of the categories, those who live in Toronto paid the highest amount to put their children in daycare, though not the most in relation to incomes.

Among the study’s findings:

  • Toronto has the highest fees in all three age categories.
  • Brampton is the least affordable city in Canada for child care, with fees accounting for 36% of a woman’s income, the equivalent of four months’ worth of work.
  • Toronto, London, Windsor, and Surrey are close behind Brampton in being relatively unaffordable. In these cities, women can expect to see 34% to 35% of their annual income consumed by child care fees.
  • Quebec’s provincial policies, particularly low daily fees, have made it dramatically cheaper for parents to place children in child care.
  • The most affordable city is Gatineau, where child care takes up 4% of a woman’s income, which is paid for in only two weeks’ worth of work.
  • Laval, Montreal, Longueil, and Quebec City are also among the country’s most affordable cities for child care. Women in those cities spend between 5% and 6% of their income on child care fees, or about one month’s worth of work.

“More than three-quarters of mothers with children under the age of six are part of Canada’s labour force,” says Martha Friendly, co-author and Executive Director of the Childcare Resource and Research Unit. “But despite the high concentration of mothers who work, Canada ranks second last in the OECD in government spending on early childhood education and care.”

With files from the Canadian Press.

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